Mattis postal expansion sends some operations downtown

Mattis postal expansion sends some operations downtown

CHAMPAIGN — Starting Monday, people with 61821 and 61822 ZIP codes will need to go to the Neil Street post office to pick up "held" mail and collect parcels that couldn't be delivered.

Currently, people in those ZIP codes go to the Mattis Avenue post office for those services.

But the planned expansion of the U.S. Postal Service's processing and distribution facility on Mattis Avenue means some postal operations will move back downtown.

Also Monday, all mail delivered by city or rural carrier in Champaign will be handled from the Neil Street post office.

Currently, 53 of the 71 Champaign routes operate from the Neil Street post office, and the other 18 operate from the Mattis Avenue office.

But beginning Monday, all routes will operate from the downtown post office, said Jason Stalter, Champaign's acting postmaster.

Morrie Smith — Champaign's postmaster since 2006 — is scheduled to retire July 31.

The Mattis Avenue post office, at 2001 N. Mattis Ave., will continue to have retail and passport services, with the retail counter open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Passport window hours on Mattis will continue to be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Post office box service won't be affected by the changes.

The Neil Street post office, at 600 N. Neil St., will continue to be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Stalter said the postal service still refers to the Mattis Avenue facility as the "main" post office for Champaign. But he said it's conceivable that could change, given the repositioning and rededicating of floor space at the Mattis Avenue facility.

The postal service is planning to consolidate all the mail handled by the Effingham processing and distribution facility and some of the mail handled by the Bloomington facility in Champaign.

The remainder of the mail handled by Bloomington is scheduled to move to Peoria.

From the mid-1960s until the early 1990s, the Neil Street facility was Champaign's main post office. That changed when the Mattis facility opened in 1991.

From the early 1900s until the mid-1960s, local postal customers used the Church Street post office in downtown Champaign. Today, that building — now known as the Springer Cultural Center — is owned by the Champaign Park District.

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Orbiter wrote on June 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

This is madness--if it is true that all 61821 held mail and packages must be picked up at the Neil St. post office.  Because that means those living directly across the street from the Mattis post office will need to drive 4 miles into town to get their mail!  

Also, the Neil St. PO will need more parking and window staff--there is no way the available parking can accommodate all those customers!

Mqqneyes wrote on June 15, 2012 at 5:06 am

 The 61821 mail has been at the downtown station for a couple of years now. But I do agree that the hours at Neil St need to be changed to accomodate the extra volume created by bringing in 61822.